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Troops retake mosque, police station in Marawi

By GENALYN D. KABILING

Government troops successfully recaptured a police station and the grand mosque in Marawi City, effectively debilitating the capability of the ISIS-backed Maute terror group.

Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said the recapture of these two facilities from the grip of the terrorists are vital achievements towards the “road to the liberation of Marawi City.”

As a result, he said the military has lessened the main battle area “to about one-half square kilometer grid.”

“The enemies’ world is getting smaller. Definitely, they used the grand mosque as a safe haven previously,” said Padilla.

Three soldiers were wounded in the clashes with the rebels holed up in the area. No hostages however were found in the mosque.

Padilla said the grand mosque is the “most significant landmark” in Marawi as it is the biggest mosque in the area.

“Having it under the hands of government provides us the impetus to symbolically say that nakuha na natin ‘yung sentro mismo ng bayan,” he said. “We will need the grand mosque to rally and to enlighten our citizens in Maranao, our kababayans kasi they need to have a place to come to, to uplift their spirits,” added Padilla.

At present, Padilla said government troops are still clearing the mosque amid reports of “abundant” unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices in the area.

“We’re doing our best to end this crisis as soon as possible, and that’s an assurance that even our troops on the ground yesterday made to the President,” said Padilla.

As of August 24, the Marawi death toll includes 596 enemies, 129 troops, and 45 civilians.

Padilla adds around 40 rebels are still hiding in Marawi and holding about 30 hostages so far.

He said military efforts to liberate Marawi are “delicate operations that we need to do slowly” given the presence of bombs and other traps places by the enemies.

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